AD #3208 – Buick Unveils Sleek Van Concept; Ford Doubles EV Production Target; Apple Headhunts Auto Engineers

November 19th, 2021 at 12:00pm

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Listen to “AD #3208 – Buick Unveils Sleek Van Concept; Ford Doubles EV Production Target; Apple Headhunts Auto Engineers” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 10:32

0:08 Apple Headhunting Automotive Engineers
0:47 Ford & GM Tackle Chip Shortage
1:41 Skoda Reveals New Slavia
3:15 Mercedes Moves EV Parts Production In-House
3:51 Ford Doubles EV Production Target
4:21 BrightDrop Receives New EV Van Order
6:13 What the Frunk?
7:46 Buick Reveals Two Concepts for China
8:48 NACTOY Winner Predictions

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33 Comments to “AD #3208 – Buick Unveils Sleek Van Concept; Ford Doubles EV Production Target; Apple Headhunts Auto Engineers”

  1. Bob Wilson Says:

    Bringing EV parts in house means being in charge of priorities as well as adding value engineering. EV parts ordered from a supplier is like getting cafeteria food …. better than nothing but performs like everyone using the same parts catalog. Worse, engineering remains ignorant of how to diagnose, much less fix a problem like the Bolt battery fires.

  2. lambo2015 Says:

    A large frunk will likely work out great for all the SUV/truck designs that don’t have a traditional trunk. For a car extra storage is nice but I could also see it being a junk collector. In some cars with a multitude of cubbies pockets and places to shove stuff. I find it real easy to lose stuff. It becomes a hunt for that little umbrella, Is it behind a seat, under the seat, in a door, in the trunk, Some other little pocket or glovebox. I like the cleaner more simplistic designs.

  3. Ziggy Says:

    There must be some mistake! The Fat Truck ( didn’t even get nominated for Truck of the Year even though they just came out with their pickup version that completely compliments their Commuter version that has been out for a few years. Sure, you can’t drive it on public roads and it tops out at 25 mph on land, but what other truck do you know of that can swim at 3 mph and conquer just about any off-road terrain. I’m just gonna have to write to my Congressman (or is it Congressperson these days) to straighten this slight out. Oh, the humanity!

  4. lambo2015 Says:

    1 I disagree. Many suppliers are far more advanced than the OEMs in specific areas and can be experts where they excel. Just like when Dodge wanted a good Diesel engine they partnered with Cummins. Why because they could offer years of experience in the area that Dodge alone would not have. Same reason they have been buying up and partnering with all these AV start ups. Suppliers that have a sole mission to develop AV technology are not burdened with also building vehicles. They can zero in and offer often times the best component for the job.
    Manufacturers get into a rut of designing what works for one vehicle and run across all their product lines with the same thing. When suppliers bid for work they offer the latest and greatest part.

  5. Norm T Says:

    Hyundai and LGChem fix their EV fires?

  6. WineGeek Says:

    Hey Sean that Buick concept is UGLY!!! How would anyone want to be caught in that thing. I hope they keep it in China.

  7. wmb Says:

    I think that it’s interesting the different approaches that Fod and GM are taking to the chip shortage. Controlling the supply, as Ford seems to be doing, may take time to build up supply. Where as reducing the number of chips themselves, may seem like a wiser choice, that only increases the likely of major headaches if there are electrical issues, for there’s more to have to sort through to find said problem. They may have to replace the entire system, if they can’t track down a defect in the network. I guess the main thing is, doing something is better than doing nothing at all, and waiting for the situation to sort out itself!

  8. Rey Says:

    Tesla is very vertically integrated, BYD even more so, thus producing their own batteries and EV motors and even Chips/Semiconductors , Of course just about everyone knows that Tesla is about to produce its own 4680 battery cells , on top of buying from CATL, Panasonic and LG as they can use all the cells they can get access to, and also Tesla has its own Chip design for its AV Program and AI for Energy Trading (Autobidder Software)

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that the NACTOY jury are anti-old school and anti-ICE performance, given that the new Wagoneer and the CTS-V Blackwing didn’t make the final three. One that surprised me in making the cut was the Golf, even as VW are phasing out the Golf in the US market, and reviews I’m reading say that the old GTi and R were better.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5 I suspect Hyundai haven’t fixed the fires any more than Chevy has, but we don’t hear as much about it, since Hyundai and Kia sell those EVs in only a handful of places in the US.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems to me that an EV with a very small frunk, or none at all, is a victim of very bad design. They weren’t very good at packaging things taking up space where the frunk should be.

    There is also a difference in frunk size in sports cars. A Porsche Cayman has a larger one than a C8 Corvette. I don’t know about an Audi R8 or Porsche Carrera GT, but those two have no rear trunk at all.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s another one that didn’t make the cut, but is getting very good reviews. It’s not a Ford or Hyundai, though.–%20High%20Minus%20Dormant%20and%2090%20Day%20Non%20Openers

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:


    12) NACTOY made themselves irrelevant long ago. Their selection criteria is too inconsistent to be meaningful. There is nobody on this planet that says: “this vehicle is a NACTOY winner, I better buy that”. NACTOY is turning into the automotive journalist equivalent of the Academy Awards…which nobody cares about.

  15. Warwick Rex Dundas Says:


    I may have misheard your comment about automakers sharing ICE car platforms while showing footage of a VW ID.3 on the production line. The VW ID.3 is rear engined and RWD in its base model, so it does have a “frunk”. It is not built on the same platform as the Golf. I may need to watch the footage again, but it seemed like a rare mistake from Autoline.

  16. Warwick Rex Dundas Says:

    Speaking of “frunks”. What has historically been called a trunk in North America is called a boot in many countries such as United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. This immediately made me think that we would have to call it a “froot”. Indeed, that is exactly what Mat Watson of CARWOW has called it on some of his video reviews in the UK. I should have trademarked the name.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 Interesting. A British guy I know, now living in the US, calls it a bonnet in my Cayman, even though there is no ICE under it. He hasn’t seen my Corvette, but I suspect it also has a bonnet in the front.

  18. wmb Says:

    #16 & 17.) Or maybe in the US, we can call the frunk a “Boot” in the US and a “Trunk” in other parts of the world? So the Mach-E would have a boot in the front and a trunk/hatchback in the States, but a trunk in the front and a boot/hatchback in Europe and other parts of the world? Well, maybe frunk is better!

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I normally call the thing in the front of my Cayman and Corvette a frunk, and the thing in the back a hatch. Other’s terms may be different.

  20. Warwick Rex Dundas Says:

    Yes, a bonnet or hood is used to describe the normal opening at the front of the car and a boot is at the rear. When people in the USA started referring to a frunk where the engine was normally located it gave rise to the question “What do we call a storage area at the front where the engine used to be? Hence the boot at the front became a froot.

    It has been quite a while since anyone other than Porsche sold rear engined vehicles here.

  21. Sean Wagner Says:

    I still struggle to comprehend how it makes sense for Apple to branch off into transportation hardware as opposed to software. The precondition is always a functioning, street-legal autonomy solution.

    As for electric vans, I can see autonomy first gaining acceptance there, in geo-fenced and temporally restricted applications. Silently trundling around at night would be a good use of such transportation.

  22. ChuckGrenci Says:

    @6, I’ve got to go with WineGeek (and I’m a GM guy); that Buick is not attractive at all. They need to take out that ‘breaking wave’ in the profile (around the rear window) and do something with the rear view as well (the contrast color is the worst). I’m okay with the concept, just not the execution.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 This is what a minivan should look like.

  24. Sean Wagner Says:

    Kit, it’s labeled as adult content and demanding I be signed in to view! For a really mini-minivan, there’s always the Suzuki Solio.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 Interesting that it’s labeled as adult content. The closest to an actual minivan sold in the US in many years was the Mazda 5.

  26. ChuckGrenci Says:

    23, Need a Flickr account to view. Interested what you posted; is it a mini-van I’d recognize?

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 It’s my ‘89 Caravan, short WB, Ice Blue, aftermarket 16 inch 9 spoke wheels, no “wood grain.”

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26,27 I didn’t know a flickr account was needed for that link to work. I won’t post flickr links again.

  29. ChuckGrenci Says:

    27, Ha, no argument on your pick; I had a ’95 Grand Caravan (good utility). I think the Pacifica would be my choice in today’s pick (but I’m beyond a need for that type vehicle).

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29 If buying a new van, I’d have a hard decision between a Pacifica and a Sienna. The Pacifica with stow and go has a more convenient interior, but the Sienna would get about twice the mpg, overall.


    30) I have driven both the Pacifica and the Sienna. I would choose the Sienna every time. It is more comfortable, rides better, and has better fuel economy. The Pacifica has a choppy ride and the stow/go seats are pretty flat to allow them to fold. They are uncomfortable on long trips. I don’t use Stow and go enough to justify the uncomfortable seats. Chrysler fixed it to some degree as the high spec Pacifica gives you a little matching pillow to use which can provide some shape to the otherwise flat seats. As those little pillows have a Chrysler part number and embossed logo, I was thinking about ordering a few for the auto themed area in the house. They are pricey at $210 per little pillow; but a neat little conversation piece none the less.

  32. Ukendoit Says:

    Kit, the plug in (hybrid) Pacifica would probably get the best mileage. 82 MPGe, 32 miles on just electric, 520 mile range total. The Sienna gets 36 MPG, but may be about $10K cheaper than the hybrid Pacifica. (That 10K could buy a lot of gas!)

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32 The Sienna gets better mpg than the Pacifica hybrid if run only on gas, but the Pacifica still does well, 30 mpg combined in EPA testing. If you have a place to plug it in, the Pacifica hybrid would have lower operating cost.

    The cheapest Sienna is about $6K cheaper than the cheapest Pacifica hybrid, but I don’t know how standard equipment compares.